Springtime in the East Cooper area is a great time to get out and enjoy our perfect weather. Young carpenter bees will start to emerge from their galleries that were built in the fall. They look almost like a bumblebee but have a shiny abdomen with no hair on it.

The female Carpenter bee bores a circular hole in wood siding, porch rails or decking boards so her eggs are protected and can develop. Some of these tunnels can extend up to ten feet long and contain multiple chambers. The female does not eat wood but uses the pulp to seal up each chamber. You will normally see coarse saw dust at the entry point as she kicks it out her tunnel. The female is usually not aggressive but can sting you if provoked.

Ironically, the male carpenter bee has no stinger. He is usually the one you see swarming around the house “protecting” his lady. He is very aggressive, but has no weapons to hurt you with.

Bare wood is very inviting to a bee looking for a place to start a new nest so carpenter bees can sometimes be prevented from making nests by painting or staining the wood. Paint is a better deterrent than stain; however, most carpenter bees will nest in almost any soft wood, particularly if it is exposed to the sun. In cases where carpenter bees persist in spite of paint, the edge of the wood can be covered with a narrow strip of flashing or screening, and painted preventing the bee from re-entering the hole.

Sometimes insect eating birds like wood peckers can cause more damage than the carpenter bee.

Like all bees, carpenter bees are beneficial to our environment. If you would like an idea on how to control these bees around your home without destroying them, give East Cooper Termite and Pest Solutions a call. We would love the opportunity to help you find a solution.